Jason Motte was forced to begin the season on the disabled list with a right elbow strain, but he’s hoping to close games for the Cardinals again soon.
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Motte is scheduled to visit Dr. George Paletta tomorrow for a follow-up MRI on his elbow. While he has been limited to arm exercises since he first complained of symptoms following a Grapefruit League appearance on March 21, he could be cleared to ramp things up if improvement is found.
“Tomorrow, we’ll be able to compare where we were to where we are,” Motte said before Monday’s home opener. “From there, we’ll move forward with what they’ll let me do or not do. If they say everything looks fine, we’ll move on from there. It just depends on what they say I need or don’t need.”
Mitchell Boggs is serving as the Cardinals’ closer with Motte sidelined. After he allowed one run in four innings over his first four appearances this season, he was touched up for seven runs (six earned) on two hits, four walks (two intentional) and a wild pitch today against the Reds. The Cardinals’ defense didn’t help matters, but…ouch.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty Brett Oberholtzer. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that it’s a minor league pact and it includes an invitation to spring training, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo.
Oberholtzer, 27, began the season with the Phillies after the club acquired him in the Ken Giles trade last offseason. He struggled to a 4.83 ERA and a 38/20 K/BB ratio in 50 1/3 innings. The Angels claimed him off waivers in August and he put up an 8.55 ERA over 20 innings in the new uniform.
Given Oberholtzer’s experience as a starter, he can provide depth for the Blue Jays whether that means starting the season at Triple-A or operating as a swingman. He’ll be under team control through the 2020 season.
OXON HILL, MD — Edwin Encarnacion began the offseason as, arguably, the second most desirable free agent on the market. As the Winter Meetings approach their end, however, he is a man without a team. And may not have a team any time soon.
Many teams have been rumored to be checking in on Encarnacion, but the defining trait of his free agency thus far has been clubs taking a pass. The most recent one being the Rangers, who are reported to simply not have the money to sign him, despite him filling a clear offensive need in Texas. Maybe the Rangers would be more competitive on the free agent market if they had a new stadium. Who knows?
The Blue Jays, for whom he most recently played, offered him a four-year, $80 million deal that most figured was a lowball, and when he rejected it, they moved on to Kendrys Morales. The Red Sox acquired Mitch Moreland. The Yankees are reported to be passing. The most recent team linked to Encarnacion is the Indians, who are reported to have an offer out to him, but at this point it’s likely far lower than what most free agent watchers thought he might get a few weeks ago. A four-year, $90 million deal did not seem crazy for him in October. In December, there is speculation that he could be had for $60 million over that same term which, frankly, would be a bargain. That’s less than Mark Melancon, the third best closer on the market, got from the Giants.
There have been a lot of remarkable things that have happened in the past few weeks, but one of the most unexpected things would be one of the top bats in the game getting second-tier closer money.